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Diagonal - Arc CD (album) cover

ARC

Diagonal

 

Eclectic Prog

3.56 | 42 ratings

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BrufordFreak
4 stars A band that I've been following since 2008 because of the promise they showed with their excellent self-titled debut of that year.

1. "9-Green" (6:22) sounds like old ROXY MUSIC, BRIAN ENO, and TALKING HEADS. Fun! I even hear a little THE MARS VOLTA with the middle instrumental/guitar solo section. (8.5/10)

2. "Stars Below" (2:46) sounds like the soft side of PINK FLOYD at the opening but then moves into a more folk domain as singer sings and alto sax joins in. I like this very much. My first top three song. (4.5/5)

3. "Citadel" (8:02) two notes from an organ oscillate for a few seconds before bass and drums join in. When singing enters it reminds me of US Prog Folk band, MIDLAKE. The chorus confirms this though I'm also now reminded of GHOSTS OF JUPITER. Sax fits in nicely toward the end. Excellent laid back song even if it does drag on a bit. A top three song for me. (13/15)

4. "The Spectrum Explodes" (4:32) opens with a fast-paced drum pattern (old style sound, i.e. no gated effects! Yea!) As the song develops I'm reminded of THE AMAZING, MICE ON STILTS, and THE MOODY BLUES. Aside from the synth solo and Tony Kaye-like organ work in the second half, this is a solid Folk Rock song in the vein of late 1960s Moodies. (9/10)

5. "Warning Flare" (6:13) opens with a slow keyboard arpeggio which is joined by drums, bass, jazzy guitar notes/chords and gentle sax all woven together into a smooth and surprisingly tight tapestry. Some BEACH BOYS-like singing enters well into the second minute and actually disrupts and disappoints--as does the searing blues/psych guitar solo that joins in in the third minute and remains active between the first three vocal verses. Then it goes solo acoustic guitar for a spell before the third vocal verse. With this accompaniment the choir vocals work much better. A far more interesting and complex song than one would have predicted based on the opening. Sax and synth weave their melody lines with the full band in the final minute. Nice! A top three song for me despite the weak first half. (8.75/10)

6. "Arc" (4:25) opens like the opening to PT's "Dark Matter" before synth and electric guitar join in to create their discordant psych melody. Suddenly, at the end of the first minute the tempo shifts as the multi-voice vocal enters. It turns into another completely surprising vocal-driven song for the next 90 seconds before instrumental passage gives way to synth, sax and electric guitar soli with a little tighter foundational weave in support of it all. The first song that doesn't really work for me. (7.75/10)

7. "The Vital" (7:38) opens with three minutes of slow, spacey organ play within which guitar, bass, and percussion interject sounds and notes before and as soprano saxophone enters to gently flit and fly about above the mix. The music never really changes as the saxophone continues its gentle exploratory flight. Nice for meditative relaxation though more of a New Age-y JAN GARBAREK piece than rock and roll. (12.5/15)

8. "Celestia" (4:34) opens with a fade in of a synth arpeggio which is then joined by drums, bass, and guitar before the Christoffer Gunrup-like voice joins in. Another prog folkie song evoking the late 1960s as well as THE AMAZING. The lead vocals get harmony support in the second verse and then Mellotron. Very nicely done. The foundational music begins to get a little stale in the third minute--just in time for all instruments but the 'tron to cut out while vocal harmonies sing on. This is, unfortunately, all too brief as the the frundational music from the opening returns to play out to the end. (8.25/10)

Total Time 44:32

An album that hit me with surprising force in its friendly, engaging, and familiar sound and styles; I enjoyed this album far more than I thought I was going to.

3.5 stars; nowhere near a masterpiece but a much more likeable and enjoyable listening experience than the ratings would indicate. Rated up accordingly. Check it out for yourselves!

BrufordFreak | 4/5 |

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